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Ada's Realm

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781529419047

Price: £10.99

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“Soaring, spellbinding, utterly epic” MUSA OKWONGA

“A time-travelling wonder of a read” PATERSON JOSEPH

“A work of fierce imagination” NII AYIKWEI PARKES


In a small village in West Africa, in what will one day become Ghana, Ada gives birth again, and again the baby does not live. As she grieves the loss of her child, Portuguese traders become the first white men to arrive in the village, an event that will bear terrible repercussions for Ada and her kin.


Centuries later, Ada will become the mathematical genius Ada Lovelace; Ada, a prisoner forced into prostitution in a Nazi concentration camp; and Ada, a young, pregnant Ghanaian woman with a new British passport who arrives in Berlin in 2019 for a fresh start.


Ada is not one woman, but many, and she is all women – she revolves in orbits, looping from one century and from one place to the next. And so, she experiences the hardship but also the joy of womanhood: she is a victim, she offers resistance, and she fights for her independence.

This long-awaited debut from Sharon Dodua Otoo paints an astonishing picture of femininity, resilience and struggle with deep empathy and humour, with vivid language and infinite imagination.

“An impressive and highly original work, brimming over with energy” TLS

Ada’s Realm pushes boundaries . . . More power to her pen!” MARGARET BUSBY

“Thrillingly, astonishingly original.” R. O. KWON

“A rule-shattering novel” Kirkus Reviews

Translated from the German by Jon Cho-Polizzi


Otoo blasts established narrative boundaries.
[Otoo] finds a form that uses the possibilities of storytelling and the joy of experimentation to open up space for her characters.
Sabine Rohlf, Berliner Zeitung
A singular voice in contemporary German-language literature
Andreas Busche, Tagesspiegel
A absolutely astonishing story
Frankfurter Allgemeine, Andreas Platthaus
Set to be one of the best books of 2023 . . . Each narrative is connected by an underlying thread, with all of them exploring the misery and joy of womanhood, as well as themes of emancipation, resistance, and freedom.
GQ Magazine
Otoo's captivating use of language is the thread that ties these varying yet overlapping tales together . . . An impressive and highly original work, brimming over with energy.
Jen Calleja, Times Literary Supplement
Thrillingly, astonishingly original. You will not have read anything quite like this before.
R. O. Kwon, author of THE INCENDIARIES
It's always exciting to discover new talent in the global literary arena, and Sharon Dodua Otoo's writing defies expectations. Ada's Realm pushes boundaries in terms of language, form, character and time, challenging perceptions of what it means to be African, an African woman, in both historical and contemporary terms. More power to her pen!
Margaret Busby, editor of NEW DAUGHTERS OF AFRICA
Its boldness and ambition leave an indelible imprint . . . A rule-shattering novel about the presentness of the past.
Kirkus Reviews
A work of fierce imagination, by turns visceral, measured and experimental.
Nii Ayikwei Parkes
Intriguing, mysterious, and charming
Operates both on earth and in a heavenly in-between space . . . [W]ry, caring, funny . . . [T]he story's time-jumping, identity-shedding slipperiness is reminiscent of Woolf's Orlando.
Annelisa Quinn, New York Times
Ada's Realm is a time-travelling wonder of a read. Spanning centuries and lifetimes, this novel manages to both humorously and effortlessly lead the reader through a landscape of time, place and trauma that never feels forced . . . for anyone who loves their history packing a darkly funny punch
Paterson Joseph
Fast-moving and never dull, all in the service of highlighting the injustices faced by women through history
John Self, Guardian